Straight after I have come to Cambodia I wanted to buy a bicycle. There were several reasons why I didn’t want to wait with it and needed to get myself one as soon as possible:
- Bicycle is the most environmentally friendly transportation option, which is extremely important to me
- Bicycle is a neat form of exercise that one may not otherwise get a chance to do due to busy schedule
- Bicycle is an inexpensive form of transportation, ideal for travelers on a budget as it doesn’t require gasoline to keep going
- Bicycle makes you independent. There is nothing worse than having to depend on other people and/or means to move from point A to point B
- In Cambodia where Tuk Tuks – primary means of short distance transportation for majority of tourists – are driven by excessively irritating and rude people, bicycle gives you an option to show them all a finger and make yourself self sufficient, aka completely and entirely capable of moving yourself around without ever needing a Tuk Tuk
- Also in Cambodia where Tuk Tuk drivers clap at foreigners from across the street and yell at them like they are cheap whores, riding around in your own means of transport (bicycle, since tourists are not allowed to drive motorcycles or automobiles) makes you unreachable for any of them. Taking this into an account, a bicycle will help you retain sanity as at least 90% of those irritating Tuk Tuk drivers will be unable to clap and yell at you ala crack whore style. The remaining 10% will still do it and ask you whether you want Tuk Tuk even though you are well off on your own way with your own transport. Tuk Tuk drivers simply don’t try to make their living by offering quality service or good price, but rather by irritating the crap out of tourists who will not take a ride with them because they need it, but just to get spared from being repeatedly approached in an uncivilized way
- To further preserve your sanity, having a bicycle gives you the peace of mind because you know Tuk Tuk drivers will not see a penny from you which is awesome way to pay back for treating you like cheap hooker. If you didn’t have the bicycle, from time to time you will catch yourself needing transport other than your feet. You are likely to go ahead with a Tuk Tuk because they are omnipresent and represent a less expensive option to get moved around. An example of needing a transport even though you can do long distances walking is after you went for a beer in the evening and it’s time to go back to the guesthouse. Unless your guesthouse is located immediately next to the pub where you went for a beer, taking a walk through seedy neighbourhoods populated by local Cambodians will give you creeps and you will rightfully fear for your life. While everyone says that violent crime is low in Cambodia, the same people and publication warn against walking the streets after dark. No matter what the name of the publication that talks about Cambodia, they all warn about the same thing – there truly must be good reason for this unison. And there really is. Hence unless you have your own transport (such as bicycle), sooner or later you WILL get to a situation in which you will need to take a Tuk Tuk regardless of how irritating and rude those drivers are. Bicycle solves this issue once and for all
Bicycle is absolutely the way to go in Cambodia. I understood it right off the bat and would recommend it to everyone who is heading this way. I knew I was going to stay in Cambodia for a while so I decided to purchase one, however most guesthouses and hotels rent bicycles and if yours doesn’t, you can rent one from countless shops selling tour tickets or simply specializing in renting bicycles. There is no shortage of bike rentals in Cambodia and prices start at $1 for a basic one without gears. I once met two guys riding Cannondale mountain bikes – Cannondale is a pro line of bicycles so I immediately enquired whether they brought them with them to Cambodia but was told they rented it out here in Siem Reap for $5 per day. I don’t know where exactly it was, but there is a way to also rent quality bikes for those who prefer reliable and well equipped bicycles.
Area around Siem Reap and Angkor Archaeological Park is predominantly flat so riding bikes is easy. There are virtually no hills here whatsoever. The only challenging part is heat. Cambodian sun is scorching and difficult to handle especially if you putting your body through a workout by pedalling. Keep yourself hydrated and drink a lot of coconut water which costs only 2000 Riel ($0.50) and has all nutrients you need to keep you going in this sun.
For me it was a no brainer that I was going to buy a bicycle, I just didn’t quite know where to go to buy one. I have only been in Cambodia for one day and Siem Reap was small enough to manage on foot, but I needed a bicycle to keep me free from Tuk Tuk drivers and to have transport for Angkor (one way lift by Tuk Tuk to Angkor area from Siem Reap costs $5, or you can hire one for $15 a day, unless you want to visit more remote temples, such as Banteay Srei). Since I wanted by purchase a 7 day pass for Angkor and explore the area relentlessly as much as possible, I’d be looking at quite a bill for Tuk Tuks hence bicycle was absolutely the way to go for me. Furthermore – I’m very environmentally concerned and support transport option that don’t harm environment. Having nice exercise is an added bonus of riding a bicycle. As I had said, for me, this was a no brainer but I would highly recommend it as hands down the best option for transport in Cambodia, especially if you have primarily come here to see Angkor Wat and other temples from the Archaeological Park.